After the thrilling obstacle course in the first round and the fierce cavalry battle in the second, a much needed breather was in order. Though, while this chapter certainly took the intensity down a notch, it was still by no means boring! This is My Hero Academia we’re talking about, after all!
Japanese Original Episode Title: 全てを持って生まれた男の子
Poor Deku! While everyone was already off to lunch, there he was, being interrogated by Todoroki and getting war declared on him again! However, it was understandable, given that they were the successors to All Might and Endeavor, who also have an ongoing rivalry! With Izuku’s resolve to follow in his idol’s footsteps and Todoroki’s rebellion against his father, it’s definitely going to be a battle to look out for! But first, they need to win their respective battles in the last event of the school festival: a tournament between all of the remaining participants!
Generational rivalry: I found it surprising and a little bit funny that Todoroki suddenly opened up and told Deku his edgy backstory just to explain why he has to beat him. It made me sadder, though, because it’s no lie that, most of the time, the problems or feuds that people have get passed down to their children. The animosity Endeavor has towards All Might made him treat his own son like a tool to surpass his rival! It even caused his wife to hurt their son! So, young Todoroki wanted to prove that he can be the strongest without the quirk he inherited from his father, and saw the chance to prove it by beating Midoriya, who was being mentored by All Might. Deku, on the other hand, had no choice but to answer that declaration of war because he, too, aimed to be the strongest! But remember, they’re not the only ones who have that goal! We also have Bakugo, who heard on their conversation!
Paired opponents: The way they showed the match-ups for each round was quite amusing! You could very well see how each participant felt towards their opponent, whether they were confident, scared, or still clueless. The whole tournament seemed like it’s going to be very interesting with all these pairs! Two eliminated participants were even given the chance to compete, although it was at the expense of the original two withdrawing from the tournament. Getting to see how the competitors prepared for their battle was a good addition, too! It somehow reminded me that, even if they were still newbies, they were serious about winning this, and that they have their own ways to prepare themselves.
Shinso’s Quirk: The guy is of the most enigmatic challengers in this whole competition, to be honest. Mysterious things surrounded him from the first event until the second one if you paid careful attention. I first mentioned it in Episode 17’s review, and with how Ojiro acted, it looks like there really was something weird about their team roster in the kibasen! It might’ve had something to do with his quirk, which kind of seemed like hypnosis or mind-control. And the way his teammates’ eyes looked as they carried him around that time were similar to how Deku’s eyes looked like after talking back to Shinso! If his quirk proves to be what we think it is, what will happen to our protagonist now?
Themes & Trivia
Pride:We usually see pride as something negative, but there’s a certain kind of pride that can be quite healthy with the right amount and the right motives. Some might still see it as nonsensical, but to the person, it’s vital to their character. For example, Todoroki’s persistent rejection of his father’s quirk was very important to him in order to show Endeavor that he can be at the top without being manipulative like him. I feel like if he didn’t, it would justify his father’s twisted actions. Then we have Ojiro and Shoda, who denied their chances to be more easily scouted by professionals because they wanted to work hard for it. The feeling of guilt and shame would haunt them for a long time if they still took that opportunity.
Chanbara: This is a genre you often see in Japanese cinema, wherein they focus on samurai or ninjas and their sword fighting. That’s why it’s also known as samurai cinema in English! It’s kind of like the cowboy or swashbuckler films in the west. Makes you wonder how the previous sports fest ended up with that as the final event given that the participants are heroes, huh?
Tournament: If you’ve ever watched classic shonen anime like Dragon Ball Z, Yu Yu Hakusho, and Flame of Recca, then you’re probably familiar with the usual martial arts tournament arc! They’re what the last sports festival event reminded me of, which is quite a neat coincidence if the mangaka didn’t intend for this modern shunen work to be an homage to the classics. Don’t you think so as well?
Not having that much action in this episode was quite fitting for an interlude in my opinion. After all, with all the suspense we got in the previous weeks, just seeing the students having fun with normal sports festival games was quite relaxing! It wasn’t at all boring or useless, either, since it also set up some important points about Todoroki and Shinso that would definitely prove useful in the next episodes. We’re surely heading for another high point soon, and with how this ended, maybe even next week?
A heart-stopping first round?
Well, another batch of suspenseful events definitely awaits us with how the preview went on! Looks like Deku’s in trouble, possibly losing without even getting a chance to fight! We may even get a glimpse on Shinso’s backstory? Great things are about to happen for sure!